Dominus Estate Dominus
Napa Valley, California, United States
The Wine Advocate
December 21, 2008, Robert Parker
“There are 6,500 cases of the superb 2006 Dominus (91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot). Its dark plum/purple color is accompanied by aromas and flavors of truffles, forest floor, black cherries, black currants, and Asian spices. One of the finest wines of the vintage, it is complete, full-bodied, and seamlessly built with beautiful ripe tannins, low acidity, and a luscious, layered mouthfeel. The aromatics are even more evolved and complex than the 2005's. The 2006 should drink well for 20-25 years.”
Dominus Estate is the Napa Valley property of Bordeaux producer Christian Moueix. The wine is bottled from the historic Napanook Vineyard. Located at the foothills of the Mayacamas, the vineyard was planted in 1838 and continues to evolve under the stewardship of Christian Moueix. The estate’s Bordeaux varietals benefit from the Yountville microclimate where temperatures are moderated by cool breezes from the San Pablo Bay. The resulting wine is a uniquely refined expression of this special terroir.
Enjoying a temperate climate, the vineyard’s volcanic, well draining soils are specifically suited to growing Cabernet Sauvignon and the other Bordeaux varietals which compose the Dominus Estate wines. The soil is gravelly and clay loam. Meticulous efforts are made throughout the seasons to produce grapes of the highest quality for Dominus Estate wines.
During the winter season, precise cane pruning ensures ideal cluster spacing for optimal fruit ripening. Dry farming relies on a deep root system to take advantage of natural water sources from rain and underground supplies. Cluster thinning optimizes quality through yield regulation.
Rinsing the grapes 10 to 15 days before harvest removes dust and enhances the purity of the fruit. The sunny side of the vines is picked a few days before the shady side respecting perfect maturity.
Minimal intervention and restraint throughout the process of grape berry selection, fermentation and aging preserve the character of the fruit. The resulting wines convey the very personality of the vineyard. Dominus winemaking includes separate lot-by-lot fermentation. Cluster sorting by hand is complemented by an optical berry sorting system. Gentle pumping-over extracts aromas, color and tannins. Vertical wine press at low pressure delicately releases components from the skin. Racking barrel to barrel in 100% french oak removes sediment and assures clarification of the wine during aging.
Dominus 2006 is dark red, almost deep crimson in color. The nose is dense and compact, filled with dark berries, blond tobacco, black cherries and cacao. The entry is both powerful and supple, spherical in quality. Perfectly ripe, the enveloped tannins are firm, round and elegant. Black fruit and licorice linger throughout the evolution in mouth, well-balanced and harmonious.
The winter was typical, with only slightly above-average rainfall. We received 28” during the winter, 6” in March and 4” in May. Rains were light and spread out over 68 days. Temperatures throughout the season were quite moderate; we saw a cool spring that delayed bud-break, and a summer without excessive heat. 2005 was a year with only 23 days over 90°F, and one day over 100°F – July 23rd. The beautiful weather contributed to a long growing season and very even ripening. With no threat of a heat wave or rain during the harvest period, the grapes reached full maturity at a slow, steady pace.
Varietals: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot
Harvest Start Date: October 2, 2006
Harvest End Date: October 26, 2006
New Oak: 40%